SBIR Phase I: Interactive 3D Learning Environment Supporting Higher Education in Immunobiology

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0740234
Agency Tracking Number: 0740234
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: IT
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Small Business Information
760 Constitution Drive, Suite 20, Exton, PA, 19341
DUNS: 123625506
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Douglas Seifert
 (610) 321-2500
Business Contact
 Douglas Seifert
Title: PhD
Phone: (610) 321-2500
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will provide the foundation to build a first-of-its-kind immunobiology simulator, combining a systems approach to learning immunology with advanced 3D interactive technology. The proposed project builds on an existing successful technology platform, extending it from an expanding business working with preeminent pharmaceutical companies to higher education. Immunobiology involves complex systems, and the traditional approach to learning immunology can feel like one is studying a rain forest with a magnifying glass; lots of fascinating insights and diversity, yet how the rain forest works as an ecosystem is lost in the detail. The proposed project will create a virtual 3-D environment using a bioengineering paradigm to compartmentalize the immune system into elements that interact in a non-linear fashion to form a responsive system. Instead of reading about it, students will experience how the immune system works by interacting with these elements. Networked systems, which are common in life science, are difficult to learn in a linear fashion. Advanced 3D game technology is well suited to simulate systems. The proposed project will integrate this powerful technology with an information engine, grounded in adult learning principles, to allow the creation of experiential learning environments. This project will allow this core technology to be extended to create an interactive immunobiology simulation. This interactive simulation will be accessible over the Internet and, with content oversight by accomplished immunology educators, it will provide a remote, in-depth resource in this field to students at community colleges or other institutions that do not retain faculty members who have this expertise. While this project is designed as an advanced tool for learning immunobiology, the system described can be replicated in virtually any complex science topic using the same core technology and expertise. The development of this project will impact other areas in life science, and beyond, in higher education, and will allow this technology to create a paradigm shift in how complex life science is learned at the undergraduate and graduate level.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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